Millennium Post

Changed Equations

There is a veritable buzz of excitement across the world’s diplomatic circles over the recently concluded Iran-United States of America nuclear deal. That Iran has decided to roll back its nuclear weapons program and agreed to go easy on building bombs would help soothe many frayed nerves. A majority of sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program will be lifted immediately if a final deal is agreed to, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on Saturday. This framework agreement was the culmination of extended talks which routinely extended deadlines. The key points of the deal revolve around: Centrifuges-Iran would have to reduce its 19,000 centrifuges down to 6,104 under the deal, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium over the next 10 years. Centrifuges are tube-shaped machines used to enrich uranium. Uranium enrichment-Iran’s centrifuges will only enrich uranium to 3.67% -- enough for civilian use but not enough for building nuclear weapons. 
Fordow facility-Iran’s Fordow nuclear reactor would have to stop enriching uranium with immediate effect for a period of at least 15 years. Fordow, one of the country’s biggest reactors, is buried more than 200 feet under the side of a mountain and was hidden from the international community’s view until the U.S. exposed its existence in 2009.Research and development-Iran can continue its research and development on enrichment, but strictly for civilian use. Inspections-Iran will be required to provide inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, unprecedented access to all of its declared facilities so that the atomic energy watchdog can closely monitor Iran’s activities.

This aforementioned nuclear weapons restraint framework seeks to make Iran’s nuclear capabilities for civilian use only, simultaneously lifting the harsh and binding sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the European Union and the US. Israel was understandably miffed by this deal with the Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu stating that the deal will “threaten the survival of Israel” and increase the risk of a “horrific war. He further tweeted that” the deal legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program, bolsters Iran’s economy, increases the risk of Iran’s aggression throughout the Middle East and beyond”.

The deal is definitely good news for India as it brings significant strategic autonomy as far as India’s foreign policy is concerned. This is because India has vital trade and other important strategic links with both Iran and the USA. With the conclusion of this deal India can now resume it’s purchase of oil from Iran and even seek to make investments in lucrative oil fields. This deal is a win-win situation which will hopefully go a long way in fostering some much needed stability in the turbulent and volatile Middle East. It may be Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani who have signed on the dotted line but its the world which is breathing a collective sigh of relief.
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